Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fantastic new interview with Robert

Ok, first the bad news. Robert confirms that the album will be a single, not a double. Now the good news. He also confirmed that he is working with Tim Pope on a 30th Anniversary dvd, and he seems to indicate that there will be a Prayer Tour show video released, though he says it's from Texas Stadium, which they didn't play in 89. That was the Wish tour in 92. Fingers & toes crossed that it's a Prayer Tour show. Now, on to the interview:

"I had the incredible opportunity Saturday night to meet and interview Robert Smith of the Cure, thanks to 104.5 FM in Philadelphia! The station had a contest where fans submit 10 questions to ask Robert and my submission was chosen!

Despite the fact that I was awfully nervous at the start, it was a fantastic interview. We talked about the new stripped down lineup, the future for The Cure, youtube, Robert's sly way of releasing a double album, the possiblity of solo material, the forthcoming remasters, and more. And we laughed a whole lot more than you'd probably expect.

Video of the entire interview is on the radio station website here:

After the interview was over, I was sure to slip him a couple CDs of my band The Silence Kit and as I handed them to him I said, "I'm sure you're too busy to get a chance to listen but-" and he stopped me and said, "No. It's a long bus ride!" and he asked me a bit about what I do in the band, etc. It was a singular, amazing experience to finally be able to give him my music and say, "Without you, I never would have made this."

(Thanks Pat. Fantastic job!)


  1. Thanks for the interview. I'm really upset about the failure to provide us a double album, though. I can't believe Robert got our hopes up and then let them die along with his artistic integrity.

    Maybe the interview will reveal more, but this really saddens me. I was looking forward to this. I'm guessing there are some awesome tracks left off for the sake of "commercial viability"; gee how much did the last "commercial" Cure album sell? Less than the more artistically true ones, you say? Someone let Geffen and Robert know that.

    The 4th season of Battlestar Galactica has been sucking compared to previous seasons because the head writer refuses to take the reins -- apart from rewrites -- and now this!

    I mostly wish Robert would release these because he's not good at releasing stuff in a timely fashion, and we'll probably have to wait another 20 years, by which time I'll be homeless or dead. Gods damn it!

  2. Oh no!! Bad news starting to fall one after the other ???

    Single release....... :-(

    But i try to be cheerfully optimistic about the cd but i really wanted a double, for the poppy stuff and the doom and gloom fit in it without commercial preasure.

    Nothing left but stay..... :-(

    P.S.Robert, come on, get rid of the label.....DO JUST WHAT YOU WANT !!

  3. Calm down, Muldy. This album saw half a dozen delays, spanning, what, two years, and you're upset about it not being a double album?

    I wanted a double too; but let's face it, Robert didn't feel they had enough material to merit the double anymore. Maybe the enthusiasm for what they were doing disappeared when it came time to write the lyrics, or maybe he couldn't get an arrangement down, or maybe the songs only worked conceptually, as sketches, as bits of ideas.

    The delays tell me one thing: Robert and co. (that is, just Robert) had a crisis of confidence in what was going on. If he thought the record had enough material up to his standard to be a double, it would be.

    And how he has compromised his artistic integrity by making the album a single-disc affair baffles me. My main concern about the then-double album was that it would be too all over the place, that it would be disjointed and hard to follow, which would mean it faced the same criticism that is slung at WMS, Wish, and KM (though, granted, the latter two by a smaller group than WMS).

    A single disc album will be a more focused one. It's been a very long time since The Cure released an album that had no fat to trim. I'd argue that not since Pornography has The Cure had an album that wasn't a track or more too long. Maybe Robert agrees with me, and that's why we have a single-disc album.

    At the same time, maybe as a double, the album would have been 85 minutes. And now, as a single, it's 80. You don't know, and neither do I. So let's sit back, let be what will be, and wait to see what happens.

    (By the way, Craig, if you could use your godliness to inspire someone to give us a transcript of the interview, I would greatly appreciate it. The video keeps showing an error when I try to view it, and it's driving me around the bend to see you praise the interview and then not be able to know its full contents. Thanks!)

  4. Hrm, I can't say that I'm all that upset. Personally, I don't think there is a single double album that isn't overblown and self-indulgent. Even classics like the White Album and the Wall have fat to trim, and if he recorded the songs, I'm sure they'll turn up somewhere or another.

    I'm more upset that the remasters are set so far back in the pipeline. The remasters of TIB through KMKMKM have completely reinvigorated the Cure catalog, and in a way I'd be more excited for remasters of amazing albums like Disintegration and Wish than for an album of new material that we don't know the quality of. Oh well.

    I'd like to see Robert a) dump the label b) not take so damn long between albums (he doesn't have to pull a NIN, but two or three years would be nice; I know the guy is a creative talent) c) find a nice way to release the new b-sides as well of some of the old ones that haven't surfaced yet.

  5. is it just me or does the cure appear to have a disproportionate amount of terminal case whingers in its 'fanbase'?

  6. Didn't anyone notice the portion of the interview (during the whole discussion of box sets, etc.) where Robert says "these will be the last CDs we release as a band"? It seems pretty clear that he's referring to the CURRENT CDs (CD Singles/Full Length).

    That seems to be far bigger news than the remasters or a Disintegration show DVD release.

  7. But that isn't new, he's talked about that twice now. One of the reasons he said he wanted to take his time and get it right was that he felt this would be the last Cure album issued this way. The future is digital downloads, unfortunately.

    And if you mean this is the last Cure album ever, then we've heard that a million times before. : )

  8. What's that old southern phrase of Clinton's that George W. Bush messed up, Tyler? "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!"

    The fact is that The Cure 2004 is a prime example of what gets cut out. The b-sides and bonus Japanese tracks were considerably better than the US version.

    Also, I've never understood the "disjointed theme" argument. How is variety a weakness? "Kiss Me" I think had some b-side type tracks, but they were alright. "Wish" has always been my favorite album; I love the pop and the slow stuff and even a bit of the harder stuff, though not all of it. "Disintegration" was strengthened by the inclusion of "Love Song", not weakened.

    WMS was a subpar album. It's not the number of tracks, but the quality. It would have been better had the tracklisting been different but not substantially so.

    Ultimately, I guess I would have been fine if he'd said nothing about a double album, but I was curious about the more experimental stuff that will get cut out now. My sense was he was quite happy with the material and he wanted to release a double album at reduced cost -- sacrificing even his royalties; he sounded like such a hero. It's more likely Geffen got its way and he felt he had to give in.

    If it honestly came down to quality, I'd be fine with the decision, but the record shows that Robert is obsessed with reclaiming the '80s/early '90s popularity by overthinking and creating formula like "Taking Off" instead of allowing the more sombre pieces to stay on the album. It's definitely Geffen's game, and I see no reason to trust this process, based on what happened in 2004, when a lot of us had to spend more money on imports and various singles. Bellweather fans don't buy albums; they steal them from the internet; same with potential hardcore fans if they release a less challenging album.

    It also comes down to the fact that I'd feel more at ease if we knew Simon approved. The other band members didn't agree with 2004's tracklisting, but Robert was so driven to be big, he frankly messed up -- not that it would have been that amazing, but it would have probably been considerably better. On this issue, I wonder if The Cure's output would be better if it functioned more democratically.

    So, my views on this are based on the fear this is another attempt to appease the mainstream, rather than a decision to put out a more artistic, quality album. I don't think that's a baseless assumption until Robert proves it to us with the album, and I could be totally wrong.

  9. That's kind of a bummer about a double album but well, I guess it's like he says, they'll probably get those songs out in some form. If not for another 58203558 years.

    I can't help feeling a twinge of jealousy as I also entered this contest... one of my questions was about whether he would rather be a centaur or a mermaid. Come on, how is that not solid gold?

  10. Oh, god no! mp3s? Torrenting. I hate downloading. I love holding my CDs in hand and looking at the shiny lyrics and artwork. Heck, even a poor bad like the Bunnymen releases CDs. Hopefully, Robert will realize what Radiohead realized: that some people don't have access to high quality internet and great computers, and it's elitist, in a way to rely on downloads.

    I miss the old "neo-luddite" Robert, as he referred to himself in the 1985 interview CD.

  11. i really am a terminal case, too.

    did robert just threaten a break up again in the second part of that video or is it deja-vu all over again? or has my hearing really gone (mbv, here i come)!

    after the tour cancellation and all the delays, the promise of a peace stone etc, i really was expecting (and wanting very badly) a double album.
    so i suppose we've probably heard near half of the songs that will probably be on the new album then? 4? plus a b-side?
    i'm still really shocked that smith didn't wrestle with the label enough to convince them to put out the double. as much as robert has said in the past that it's pretty much a skewed democracy (always in his favor) and he always gets what he wants... :\

    making it "appealing"...for chrissakes i'm up at 3 in the morning when i need to be up at 6 listening to robert smith discuss his keytar purchase because i couldn't wait. my priorities are obviously too fucked to repair. release everything. i'll buy it. obsession trumps all!

  12. Muldman - This what you looking for?

    I'm actually going to miss him I think. Though I'm sure McCain will have classics in him too. : )

  13. I forgot about that! Robert said he bought a keytar in order to play some keyboard songs like Charlotte Sometimes in the set. There's no way that will ever happen. Damn man, just get a synth and set it up by the mic. How cool would it be to see Robert playing keyboards again?

  14. jesus that took forever to write. craig, got the word about the band not (or are they...?) breaking up, but releasing albums in this fashion. thanks!

  15. strange !
    there are still curefans out, who believe what robert says.
    i don´t believe a word what he is saying. he is just a "liar". he is telling stories eveytime. like us tour later, but a double album *hahaha*

  16. I'd like to make the comment to Muldfeld that is clearly not a Robert choice to not do the double, it's the label, he is tied to a contract, so it's not a simple matter of just doing what he pleases, perhaps he regrest resigning? but hey a new album is a new album....don't be so quick to slam the band is all I'm saying....

  17. transcript will be great...

  18. He did a really great job! Well done and thanks for drawing more info out of him....wish he had said more about the album....being a Cure fan can be so frustrating when you are tantalised by snippets of things, but frigging exciting at the same time huh

  19. Ah thanks for posting the Pitchfork stream news...thats the first time ive heard the single in full!!! great stuff...if a kind of weird ending

  20. i love love love the idea of the keytar!!!!!
    i really hope he uses it.
    do you know how freaking awsome that would be! ?
    and dont bring me down by saying he wont use it .....i girl can dream right?

  21. Robert didn't seem too enthused about having to make it a single album.

    Seriously, what is wrong with a double album?

    The Cure - KMKMKM (one of their best, and a massive seller)

    Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie (the best SP album ever released, with an obscene amount of b-sides)

    NIN - The Fragile (Trent tells his record company to go stick it when they push him to release a single album, and his gambit paid off in the form of a great double album that became a huge seller)

    NIN - Ghosts I-IV (quadruple EP album that sold 750k copies right out of the starting gate)

    The big record companies just don't get it, and they're going to pay for it in the long run when the NIN model becomes more widespread. The Cure really need to go indie.

  22. not to add an off genre reference to the mix... but maybe this will be a good thing...
    like *yikes!* metallica did with load/reload... fans got 2 albums, 2 tours etc in a much shorter amount of time... (who wants to wait 4 years again...)
    of course in the cure world... if someone leaves the band or joins the band... all the unreleased stuff is either cast aside or re-worked...

  23. To be honest, I'm glad that it's been cut down to a single album. I want to hear the very best this line up has recorded; and great double albums are a very rare beast indeed. A great album and excellent b-sides on the singles works for me!

    Excellent interview, byt the way. The second half is particularly interesting. If anyone could transcribe it, I'd be much obliged.

  24. I don't think it's a big deal. If it's a solid single album, than I'll be very pelased. We know that we're getting at least 4 b-sides, so we can add that to the number of new Cure songs. Does Robert say how many tracks are on the new album? I love the 5 new album songs I've heard "Sleep When I'm Dead" is especially catchy) plus the b-side, so I'm not complaining, which is rare for me.

  25. Well, to be honest, I don't cling to the idea of the double album. All I want is simply a brilliant work for The Cure.

    At the same time, I know some excellent songs are going to cut out from this album and I really want them to release them someday in the near future.

  26. Hi there, everyone! I'm Pat, the lucky interviewer! And honestly, I didn't really take this as bad news at all! I think it's actually very funny! A record company in this day and age just won't see the value in releasing a double album, and since Robert did want to release a double album, he's found a pretty sly way of doing so - releasing the non-album tracks as B-sides. And his plan to do a single each month is pretty revolutionary and I think it speaks very well to his integrity, in fact. He's seeing to it that we get to hear everything he wants us to, one way or another. Just my take on it.

    So great to see so many comments!
    -Pat McCay

  27. Great interview, Pat. I hate you.

    I don't really hate you, I'm just seething with jealousy.

  28. For some reason I can't watch the videos. It just won't play...

  29. The Wedding present did 12 single in a year(1992)...Go Robert!

  30. oh jpx, i always look forward to your anger.

    pat, excellent job. what were the questions you didn't get a chance to ask that you really wanted an answer to?

  31. Hi Sofia,
    Luckily, right before the interview, I prepared by putting a star next to each of the questions I absolutely wanted to make sure I asked him, and then I numbered the remaining questions in order of importance. I got the opportunity to ask him ALL my star questions (I had to sneak that last one about "The Top" in! Haha) and we even touched on some of these topics a good bit, albeit, in a different form than my question...

    Here are the questions that I didn't get to ask:

    # The Cure was one of the first bands I knew of to have an official site that was handled by the band (by you, in fact, Robert). And you've since been known to appear on thecure.com's messageboard to make announcements at times. How do you feel about this level of interaction that you can now have with your fans, that the internet makes possible?

    # Speaking of the last album, how involved were you with the track choices, as far as the different countries' bonus tracks? I found the songs left off the U.S. version were some of my favorite songs on the album.

    # Have you had any contact with Lol Tolhurst within the last few years?

    # If you were starting The Cure today, in a climate where record stores are going out of business, record labels are in financial troubles, and internet presence seems at times to make or break a band, how would you go about getting started? Do you think it's easier for bands today or harder, to get things going and to get people to listen?

    I think we definitely went off on tangents that were far more intersting than the questions that I didn't get to ask!

    Thanks for all the kind words, everyone! I can't say enough about how nice Robert, Jason and Simon are and how much they obviously care about the fans and how well my friends and I were treated. And also, how knowledgable and thoughtful the radio people at 104.5 were.

    -Pat McCay

    PS: I totally understand, jpx! No worries! :)

  32. the cure have - with album "the cure" - a deal for 3 albums with Geffen. I´m right? So this album will be the second one and the other one (second part of the double album) will be that "last one"... and from that moment The Cure will be free again.

    Or.. try to remember to last Radiohead´s album "In Rainbows". Is it the single album? Officially yes, but! That album has a second part with another 8 tracks. So... maybe it will be the same with new Cure album.. who knows?

  33. Pat, I can answer your question about Lol right now. Yes, they've been in contact fairly recently actually, as Robert was going to have Levinhurst flyers put up at or near the venues to advertise Levinhurst shows, but that got scrapped when the tour was rescheduled. Oh, and if you want any answers to certain Cure or Robert questions, go to the Levinhurst board and ask Lol himself. He's very interactive with fans, and is a friendly person.

  34. Please, can anybody transcribe the interview?.......i can't watch the link.....

  35. Thank you Pat! That was a great interview. You're one lucky guy Pat! I entered the contest too but my questions really sucked compared to yours! I would have loved to win but I'm glad a long time fan won! Very cool! I'm really glad you had a great night! :D

    And you must have been terribly excited to win but how the hell did you keep your cool? I would have been a complete mess! Mumbling & drooling like a fool just sitting next to Robert! LOL! Your questions were great & you got quite a bit of juicy info out of him too. Thanks for that, the fans are dying to know what happening with the band! Robert was very chatty and seemed quite happy to be there. What a Awesome day for you!

    Yes I'm a bit disappointed that there will not be a double album but I'm still looking forward to hearing new Cure Songs & getting a new CD in Sept.....Well I hope it does come out then! LOL!!! :D

    Thanks once again for sharing you experience with us!!! :)

    cure_kitty :)

  36. i'd be content with a happy poppy with some darkness single album for 2008 (music for the masses...), then hold on to the darkest stuff for ANOTHER NEW ALBUM in 2009 (music for the fans)- to coincide with CURE XXX in 2009... this combined with a plethora of remasters, long-rumoured documetary, 'thirty imaginary years' book (whatever happened to another 10 imaginary years, as promised in cure news in the 90's?), dvd versions of live shows (orange, show etc) and singles videos...

    and after releasing these final 2 albums with geffen/universal i think robert would be wise to go speak to mute records... they actually 'get it'...

  37. You guys are forgetting that every album released since "Kiss Me" HAS been a double album, even if only a single CD

    (except "Disintegration", which was a double album unfortunately released on a single LP)

  38. finally watched the videos... awesome... finally an interview that ask the real questions we want to hear...
    excellent. wish it was longer though... cause i just know there was plenty more to ask.

  39. I think a double could have been trouble. Ha.

    Seriously, though, double albums aren't always smashing and sometimes suffer from filler-overload.

    That said, I hope that the single does not sacrifice the best songs, as happens with the Cure, it seems. Even if we get to hear the songs via b-sides, it's not the same as if they were on the album, flowing together with the other songs, creating a full painting, rather than a disjointed puzzle.

    I don't understand why the record company won't do the double, though. Are Robert's hands really that tied now? My how things change...

  40. What an interesting interview. Kinda bummed about the new cd only being a single, but at least we will get to hear all the songs unlike the s/t release.

    BTW Pat, I checked out you're band the silence kit. Awesome stuff! I can definitely hear the cure influence :)

  41. And if you don't suceeed with the band you can always become an interviewer!!Very good job indeed! Thanks...

  42. Hey pat

    You must be a Pavement fan too? (given your band's name)

    The Cure and Pavement are my 1 & 2 fav bands.

    Great job dude! Once again Robert showed himself to be the most genuine and decent human beings in the rock star business.

  43. Did I hear Robert say there is going ot be ANOTHER 'Mixed Up' released?

    If so, I am pumped .... I am one of the few people who REALLY liked Mixed Up. The extended versions of Fascination Street and Close to Me were brilliant.

  44. can someone upload this to you tube or provide transcript because i have macbook and cannot view it... thanks!

  45. yeah, i can't view it either, and i have both a macs and dell. a you tube vid of this would really help. tx in advance...